cover image What in the World? Numbers in Nature

What in the World? Numbers in Nature

Nancy Raines Day, illus. by Kurt Cyrus. S&S/Beach Lane, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-4814-0060-2

In this calm counting book, Day (A Is for Alliguitar) numbers elements in nature: “What in the world comes one by one?/ A nose. A mouth. The moon. The sun.” Day’s rhyming text follows this formula from one to 10, detailing things that come “two by two” (birds’ wings) and “in threes” (clover leaves and bees’ segmented bodies). For “eight by eight,” Day names “Octopus limbs that undulate,” and in case anyone thinks first of spiders’ legs, an author’s note suggests each reader “look for a numerical set in the world around you.” (Nine is a tough one, and the nine-spined stickleback fish fills the bill.) Cyrus (The Voyage of Turtle Rex) pictures earth, water, and sky in serigraph-style digital art with limpid backdrops that resemble watercolor wash. His imagery—including a spread of a child dipping his toes in a tide pool where sea stars congregate—evokes pristine places in nature, even if his method gives the settings and creatures a curiously plasticky smoothness. Pleasant and diverting, this numerical list may well encourage readers to notice patterns in natural phenomena. Ages 4–8. (Sept.)